Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
How do you get Scabies/How can you get it? Causes:
Scabies is an easily spread skin disease caused by a very small species of mite.
This parasitic infection is spread by skin-to-skin contact with another person who has scabies. Scabies are transmitted through close physical contact; as a result, this parasite is often sexually transmitted. However, children often pass it to one another and to adults through everyday contact as well.
Outbreaks are common in nursing homes, nursing facilities, and child care centers.
How to tell if you have it? Scabies Symptoms:
It usually takes 3–4 weeks for the symptoms of scabies to develop. But if you’ve recently had scabies and get reinfected, you may have itching within hours.
Often the symptoms of scabies/”the seven year itch” are not visible. When there are symptoms, they may include:
- Persistent itching that usually becomes worse at night.
- Presence of the mite burrow(s), often in a zigzag or ‘S’ pattern.
- Presence of lesions, such as brown nodules, rashes, or pimple-like irritations.
How to know if you have it? Scabies Tests:
Although people can sometimes figure out on their own that they have scabies, it’s often difficult to make a diagnosis yourself.
A health care provider can examine the skin to see if it shows signs of scabies. Tests include an examination under the microscope of skin scrapings taken from a burrow to look for the mites.
Relief spells (Rolaids?!) Scabies Treatment:
A health care provider may prescribe a medication such as Nix, Elimite, or Scabene. Less toxic treatments may be prescribed if the infestation is not severe. Be sure to follow the directions that come with the package. You may have to apply the medicine from neck-to-toe more than once.
Creams are applied all over the body. The whole family or sexual partners of infected people should be treated, even if they do not have symptoms. Creams are applied as a one-time treatment or they may be repeated in 1 week.
Wash underwear, towels, and sleepwear in hot water. Vacuum the carpets and upholstered furniture.
What’s going to happen to me?!!?! Scabies Expectations:
For difficult cases, some health care providers may also prescribe medication taken by mouth to kill the scabies mites. Ivermectin is a pill that may be used.
Itching may continue for 2 weeks or more after treatment begins, but it will disappear if you follow your health care provider’s treatment plan. You can reduce itching with cool soaks and calamine lotion. Your doctor may also recommend an oral antihistamine.
Things to be aware of… Scabies Complications:
Intense scratching can cause a secondary skin infection, such as impetigo. A severe case with a lot of scaling or crusting may be a sign that the person has a disease such as HIV.
– – – –
Did this information help you or was this consistent with your experience? Are we missing something pertinent you think should be included in this in-depth description? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!